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Mitch Pileggi

Mitch Pileggi

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: April 5, 1952 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Portland, Oregon, USA Profession: actor, housing accounting specialist (for defense contractor)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This tall, athletic and bald character player of film and TV certainly made the most of a guest shot on a first season episode ("Tooms") of the hit Fox paranormal drama "The X-Files". Pileggi (pronounced "puh-ledgy") was invited back for an eight-episode arc at the beginning of the second season--largely coinciding with Gillian Anderson's diminished presence due to her pregnancy. Initially viewed with suspicion by both the show's protagonists and fans, the intense, repressed and seething FBI Assistant Director Skinner eventually won everyone over with his quietly heroic efforts to aid his sometimes renegade agents even at the price of angering his masters and putting his professional and physical life on the line. Skinner has said that he stands on the line that David Duchovny's Agent Fox Mulder routinely crosses. The character became one of the show's tiny group of recurring characters. Pileggi realized well into his characterization that he had been unconsciously modeling Skinner on his own late father, Vito, a defense contractor.The peripatetic nature of his father's profession took the young Pileggi and his family from his native Portland, OR to California to such far-flung locales as Turkey,...

This tall, athletic and bald character player of film and TV certainly made the most of a guest shot on a first season episode ("Tooms") of the hit Fox paranormal drama "The X-Files". Pileggi (pronounced "puh-ledgy") was invited back for an eight-episode arc at the beginning of the second season--largely coinciding with Gillian Anderson's diminished presence due to her pregnancy. Initially viewed with suspicion by both the show's protagonists and fans, the intense, repressed and seething FBI Assistant Director Skinner eventually won everyone over with his quietly heroic efforts to aid his sometimes renegade agents even at the price of angering his masters and putting his professional and physical life on the line. Skinner has said that he stands on the line that David Duchovny's Agent Fox Mulder routinely crosses. The character became one of the show's tiny group of recurring characters. Pileggi realized well into his characterization that he had been unconsciously modeling Skinner on his own late father, Vito, a defense contractor.

The peripatetic nature of his father's profession took the young Pileggi and his family from his native Portland, OR to California to such far-flung locales as Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Iran. He first began acting as a student in an American high school in Turkey, discovering a penchant for musicals. Pileggi fell away from the limelight after high school, taking an undergraduate business degree at the University of Texas at Austin. He worked as a defense contractor himself for several years in Iran before fleeing the revolution. Settling finally in Austin, TX, Pileggi took up performing in community theater and went on to bit parts in TV. Moving to Los Angeles, he won additional TV guest shots and roles in low-budget genre movies--his most notable was as mass murderer Horace Pinker, the lead in Wes Craven's wildly uneven supernatural thriller "Shocker" (1989). His character survives the electric chair transformed into a malevolent energy that kills through TV. Pileggi sank his teeth into the showy part--cast by Craven for his ability to make criminality sexy--but the film's poor critical and commercial reception thwarted the producers' aim to create a new Freddy Krueger. Usually cast as toughs, unsympathetic cops and bad guys, Pileggi had small parts in such films as "Return of the Living Dead Part II" (1988), "Basic Instinct" (1992) and "It's Pat" (1994).

Finally achieving celebrity with his role on "The X-Files", Pileggi has become a sex-symbol of sorts to many of the show's ardent admirers. His relaxed and youthful demeanor during conventions and personal appearances has served to enhance his status as a fan favorite. Accordingly, the shows' producers have slowly been giving Skinner more of a life beyond the walls of his office. Pileggi was promoted to series regular with the 1996-97 season.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Space Twister (2012)
2.
 Recount (2008)
3.
 Flash of Genius (2008)
4.
 Man in the Chair (2007)
5.
 First to Die (2003) Warren Jacobi
6.
 Gun Shy (2000) Dexter Helvenshaw
7.
 X-Files, The (1998) Fbi Assistant Director Walter Skinner
8.
 Legion of Fire: Killer Ants (1998) Sheriff Jeff Croy
9.
 It's Pat (1994) Concert Guard No 2
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Born in Portland, Oregon
1962:
At age ten, moved with family to Ankara, Turkey for four years (dates approximate)
:
Impressed his teacher with his performance of "Maria" from "West Side Story" in high school chorus (an American school in Turkey); began playing leads in school musicals
:
Left acting after high school
:
Lived through two coups and coup attempts in Turkey
:
Attended junior college in California for a year
:
Attended college in Munich, Germany
1978:
Hired to work as a housing accounting specialist for a defense contractor in Iran; moved there with his wife Debbie Andrews (date approximate)
1980:
Returned to US during the Iranian revolution; settled with wife in Austin, TX (date approximate)
:
Resumed acting; became involved in community theater at the Zachary Scott Theatre as a bookkeeper, janitor and set builder as well as actor; productions included "The Lark", "Lone Star" and "Bent"; played Pilate in "Jesus Christ Superstar"
1983:
Moved to Los Angeles after getting divorced (date approximate)
1984:
Feature acting debut, a small part in "On the Line/Rio Abajo", a Spanish production about the relationship between two US border guards and a Mexican prostitute
1984:
TV-movie acting debut, "The Sky's No Limit", a CBS drama about three female astronauts
1985:
First TV guest shot, "The A-Team" on NBC
1989:
First feature lead, played mass murderer Horace Pinker in Wes Craven's thriller "Shocker"
1990:
Appeared in three episodes of the hit CBS primetime soap "Dallas"
1994:
Joined the cast of Fox's hit paranormal drama "The X-Files" in the recurring role of Assistant Director Skinner
1995:
Signed a six-year contract to appear on "The X-Files"
1996:
Provided narration for the Fox compilation special "More Secrets of the X-Files"
1996:
"Promoted" to a regular on "The X-Files" as of the 1996-97 season
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Fullerton College: Fullerton , California -
University of Texas at Austin: Austin , Texas -

Notes

"'Though he plays a stern disciplinarian', says the show's executive producer, Chris Carter, 'Mitch has a certain gentleness viewers really took to.'"

"Gentleness isn't the only thing they took to. 'A lot of women want to kiss my head,' he says doffing his cap. Ironically, Pileggi's baldness nearly kept him from getting the role. 'He looked a little extreme,' says Carter, recalling the actor's first two auditions. By his third try, Pileggi had stopped shaving his head and grown out what hair he does have. 'I went in with this surly attitude', he says. 'Maybe they were just trying to piss me off so I'd be that way.'"

"Those who should know say this crossness is pure acting. 'Mitch is a tough, honest, standup guy," says [Gillian] Anderson, 'but he can get really goofy.' Adds Duchovny: 'He's been known to suddenly break into show tunes.'" --From "To the Top: Senior G-Man" in People, May 6, 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Debbie Andrews. "Army brat"; met when Pileggi was a student in California; married 1978; divorced in 1983.
wife:
Arlene Warren. Actor. Met on set of "The X-Files"; Warren is the stand-in for series star Gillian Anderson; born c. 1966.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Vito Pileggi. Operations manager. Worked for a defense contractor to US Department of Defense; provided Pileggi's inspiration for his characterization of the FBI's Assistant Director Skinner on "The X-Files".
mother:
Maxine Pileggi. Homemaker.
brother:
Nick Pileggi. Not the author-journalist-screenwriter.
daughter:
Sawyer Pileggi. Born on May 24, 1998.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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